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''Hey, That's My Bike!''

photo, group, dan, olga, betty, rob, jerry, susan, doug

The 'Group of the Week' featuring Dan, Olga, Betty, Rob,
Jerry, Susan and Doug.

''A Banana Stand In Uzbekistan''

Paris:– Thursday, 19. May 2005:– There isn't any question of me giving a weather forecast that you can bet the family cat on so we need to decide what sort of variant prediction I should make. This is Paris so maybe it should be impressionistic, or maybe you would like one that it is in the mood – the mood of the day, the mood of the cigarette lady in the tabac, or in the mood for love.

Frankly I am not sure I can fake any of these moods. But just as frankly, I'm getting tired of the Thursday night TV–weather news forecasts and Le Parisien's little weather maps, with their cute phrases like the 'weather bites back.'

Just think, you are coming to Paris this weekend and you are going to lay out a pile of bread at Cartier's for an engagement ring and then you are going to drink Champagne on the Pont des Arts or the Pont Neuf or the second deck of the Tour Eiffel, and I'm going to predict morephoto, beer of the week and more clouds for Friday, and winds from the southwest of 60 kph, plus a certain humidity with a temperature of... 24 leaping degrees!

More and more clouds isn't romantic is it? This might end things before they begin. Might as well get the ring from Tati if they are still in business. If it would only rain! Warm and humid but with rain lying around in black pools, being riffled by the wind, making the neon reflections glitter and wiggle. You want it?

The 'Beer of the Week' was not the largest.

Unstable is the word for Saturday that the TV–weather lady chose to use, probably with good reason. But it will be cooler, something on the order of 19 degrees. If you hang on Sunday will arrive and it might be sunnier. Sunnier than 'unstable' this is and if Saturday leaks into Sunday I doubt it. All in all, it is unlikely to be wet enough to be romantic and you can put its 18 degrees wherever you threw the cat.

The '99th Best Café in the World' Report of the Week

We've had our 'white nights' and some people might have been married in white, but yesterday Paris held what may have been its first white funeral. This was for record producer Eddie Barclay, who was famous for 'discovering' just about everybody in the music business after the war. Eddie was also famous for discovering Saint–Tropez and inventing white nights there. At Saint–German–des–Prés all 'le monde' was out in white while Eddie was loaded into his Chevrolet to be whisked down to Saint–Tropez, one more time.

If I had bought the paper earlier I could have read about this riding the Métro but instead I 'read' the underground posters, without learning anything new. All the same I rode to Cité, where I did not see any lawyers protesting in front of the Palais de Justice. These, and ones in Lille, were on the TV–news tonight, again.

The mass of people in front of Notre Dame did not seem to be demonstrating in favor of weeks composed entirely ofphoto, perrier, water Sundays so I walked around to the back to see if there was any unrest there. All was quiet. The Ile Saint–Louis across the way was equally in doze and the river was empty except for a paddle–wheel sightseeing boat gliding past the Hôtel de Ville.

The 'Water of the Week' was not the fizziest.

The flower market was in bloom and the towers on the Conciergerie were poking the clouds, their flags bright little patches of color against the light gray overhead. Crossing the Quai du Louvre a convoy flanked by cops slithered through the stopped jam with lots of lights flashing, bells and whistles. They should have signs on them saying they saw it on TV so I don't have to answer questions about what they're doing.

But enough of this frippery. In the club's café, in its 'grande salle,' there are few and the club's area is tidy, with the 'Waiter of the Week' being Patrick. Within a few minutes I am joined by Olga and Dan Ciupitu who are still walking around, as Dan will later say, 'about 10 hours a day.'

Into this scene drops Rob Blasdel who is dressed for bicycle riding. Rob is from Herndon in Virginia and he says he took up bicycle riding again about 18 months ago. In fact Rob has just bicycled to the club meeting from Amsterdam.

"I told too manyphoto, odometre, 535 km people so then I had to do it," he says. It looked like it would be a walk–over, "Because Holland is flat." It doesn't show too clearly on maps that the hills start around Brussels. After 11 or 12 days on the road, in sunshine and rain, Rob climbed on a train at Saint–Quentin to make sure he got to Paris in time for the club meeting.

The 'Odometre of the Week' was the truest.

This is a 'first' all out of proportion with the many other club 'firsts' but in no way diminishes them even if some are insignificant. Rob asks us to keep en eye on his bicycle which is chained to a tree outside on the café's terrace.

For the few doubters I am sure are reading this please take the time to look closely at Rob's odometre. It says '535 kilometres,' which is the distance from Amsterdam to Saint–Quentin, plus the ride–around in Paris today.

At this moment we are joined by Susan and Doug Fuss. Susan immediately asks if I have seen Betty and Jerry Blizin. I say I haven't so they come in and sit down too. These members of long standing are from Savannah, Georgia, and Tarpon Springs in Florida, respectively.

Rob is high from the biking. Hephoto, rob blasdel, bike says riding in the United States is more dangerous than in Europe. In Paris, he says, "Around here you can be a little crazy!" By this he means that Paris drivers are tolerant. Relatively.

For Olga and Dan, Jerry says about Susan and Doug, "We met you running a banana stand in Uzbekistan." Because he's failed to say 'Tashkent' we will lack a 'City of the Week.'

Rob Blasdel is the club's first 'Biker of the Week.'

Rob attempts to nominate Amsterdam by saying, "If you yell 'Hey, that's my bike!' about five guys will leap off the bikes they're on and run down sidestreets."

Since he is such a sportsman I tell him about the Friday night roller rando. People who power their own wheels can appreciate the sense of a scene where five or ten thousand lunatics put on little wheels and roll around Paris on a Friday night, or, as Olga notes, on a Sunday afternoon.

Time passes very quickly today and we are all out on the café's terrace getting the 'Group Photo of the Week' together when Nigel White arrives, from his flight from Washington, DC, via London. But the photo isn't the best and three or four shots are cobbled together to give the one at the top of the page. It makes a dubious 'first' called the 'Collage of the Week.'

Olga, Dan and Nigel trade Sydney stories. "I don't live there anymore," Nigel says when Dan invites him to a barbie. For coffee fans it should be noted that Sydney has the 'world's second–best coffee' – after Italy. Plus, all you can eat for 25 Australian dollars, and drinks are reasonable because you bring your own. To me it sounds colonial.

Before you start to think that Paris is far too expensive, Dan also notes that you get more daylight here. Even in May, with our 'euro' days, it stays light until 21:30. Okay – this may be morephoto, nigel white evident if it isn't too cloudy, and 'euro' temperatures aren't worth two words on a postcard.

During last Saturday's 'Nuit des Musées' Olga and Dan braved the crowds and got into the Louvre and got to see the Mona Lisa. "It looked nice," Dan says, "Better than in 1988." He also mentions being surprised at the numbers of kids he sees in museums. "Nah!" Nigel says, when asked if Australian kids ever go to museums.

Nigel, hardly the worse for wear, after a 3–hour London layover.

We are still percolating 30 minutes after the end of the meeting's official time when member Willy the Bird flies in and flits around the club's area, seeming to count the members rather than appearing to look for crumbs. Perhaps these are reserved for mice.

About the Café Metropole Club's About Page

Today's club meeting 'report,' with sufficient members for a good natter, probably doesn't completely clear up whatphoto, empties of the week this is all about. See the virtual 'About the Café Metropole Club' page with some useless photos, but you can ignore them all and miss little more than a smazzle of words. That the club is a treat to join on any 'Thursday of the Week' is the short version.

What, How, Where, Who, Why Not, When?

Club meetings begin around 15:00, in half–afternoon, on Thursday and continue for two entire hours until 17:00 on the same afternoon, in the western European Time zone – which is really 'CET' for short and not 'sZzt' although it sometimes is – and known in a few other places as 3 pm to 5 pm. Around somewhere else is not where meetings are so be sure to come to the café La Corona's 'grande salle.' The people sprawling in the rear are us.

Grace a gathering – by being at one or more. Hang around for a hour or two with new friends especially if you have the time for it. True 'firsts' are welcome, with 'first' being equal to 'true' regardless if 'first' is slightly unlikely too, and if it is an alternate form of 'reality' with any sort of vague connection to drive–ins.

A note of caution – you may have any one or more personal reasons for remaining unfindable via the Web. If so, be sure to inform the club's secretary that you prefer to be '404 – not found' by Web search engines before becoming 'found' in one of these club reports.graphic: club location map If in doubt toss your name into Google.

Former 'rules' continue to be eradicated week after week after week, month after month, year–in year–out, forever and ever over hill and dale and crosscountry. Nevertheless these may be consulted so that you know the history of the past of this social club making it redundant to repeat it like we often attempt to avoid doing.

Talking to other club members at meetings is encouraged rather than optional if there aren't any. There are usually free chairs, so sit – wherever you like. Standing up is fine too. Whatever you say will be honestly appreciated by other members present if there are any that are listening, and there usually are some – and if it should by fluke chance to be written here.*

*The above paragraphs are relatively unchanged since last week because of today's repeat and still rare appearance of fly–in member 'Willy the Bird.'

The café's location is:

Café–Tabac La Corona
2. Rue de l'Amiral de Coligny – or – 30. Quai du Louvre
Paris 1. Métro: Louvre–Rivoli, Pont–Neuf or Châtelet.
Every Thursday, from 15:00 to 17:00.

A bientôt à Paris
signature, regards, ric

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Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
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